(Guest post from Soccer Shots Franchising)
At Soccer Shots, it is part of our mission to impact youth in a positive way, but there are times when the depth of that impact is more profound than we could have hoped for. The following is a letter from a parent of Soccer Shots participants. We have changed only the names to protect the family’s anonymity but the rest is a copy/pasted letter that we wanted to share. Let it be a reminder to all who work with children that the time we spend (even if it’s only 40 minutes, one day a week) can be deeply meaningful.
Dear Coach Matt,
I wanted to take the time to write you an email, to thank you for all you do in running the Soccer Shots Program. Both of my boys, Jason, now 4, and Phil, age 3, have benefited from this program in more ways than you know. That is why I am writing you, to give a first-hand account on how your program is serving others.
To many families, signing up their child(ren) may be on a long list of to-dos, a part of “growing up”…a milestone. For my family, it was a way to bring joy to a life that was hanging on by a thread.
When I initially signed Jason up in the Fall of 2009, it was out of my strong desire to engage him in an activity that was positive and promoted teamwork, self-confidence, and encouragement. You wouldn’t have known this, but it was a very difficult time for the boys and me. At the time, we were living in a home with an active drug and alcohol addict–my husband (and their father.) As you can imagine, this made it very difficult to have a “normal” life and marriage, as life with an addict is very far from that. I was also praying that the soccer program would bring a positive male influence into my son’s life, even if it was only once a week.
Last Spring, you were one of those people. I appreciated your commitment to Jason, especially when you engaged him back “into” the activity and really worked with him, encouraging him to have fun and participate. Your effort was to be commended. You always gave him special attention, and he still talks about playing soccer, and his coach was “Coach Matt.”
This season, Phil was old enough to start the program. He has had Coach Brad, and again, what a wonderful experience it has been. Brad is just wonderful with the kids, and I have tried to thank him on several occasions, knowing that he really has no idea just HOW thankful I am. One particular moment sticks out.
Early in the season, Coach Brad called Phil, “Phil the Thrill” and the name stuck with him. I know to Brad, it may have been an off-hand comment, but to Phil, it meant the world. After all, his coach gave him a special name!
At night, when I tuck him in, sometimes he waits for me to say, “I love you–Phil the Thrill–my little soccer man!” As a teacher, I have served so many families, and have had the pleasure of knowing their stories and sharing in their lives. I really feel God has gifted me in this way of serving others. Please know that I feel you have this gift, too, and THANK YOU for bringing together such an amazing team of people to do this work.
I think those of us in service positions don’t realize the magnitude of the work we’re doing at times, the lives we can be touching and not even know it, even through the game of soccer. The way we react to a child; an encouraging word, a happy disposition, a hug or high-five, even an off-hand “nickname” can go a long way in the life of a child. So today, I want you to know how much you and Brad have meant to my boys, and for that I am forever grateful.
We hope this parent knows how much letters like this mean to everyone in Soccer Shots. This is why we do what we do.